Shelagh has been sharing her passion for developing creativity in others over many years as an educator, lecturer and tutor and is now returning to her passion, Batik to explore the media further through her studies of her countryside surrounding in Paulton where she now lives.
History and Qualifications:
Shelagh started her art career at her local art school aged just 16. She completed a 2 year Foundation in Art and then attended Swansea College of Art, exploring a broad range of specialist areas and media including fine art painting (oils), sculpture (casting in bronze, fibreglass, papier mache), batik, screen printing, ceramics and printmaking.
Shelagh qualified as a specialist art educator and has for many years in Bristol & Bath (UK) and also Wisconsin (USA). She has worked in secondary and special school settings (behavioural and also mild learning difficulties, including a secure unit for serious offener young men). She has delighted in introducing young people on both sides of the continent to tap into their creativity in a wide a variety of media and for many years, specialised in screen printing and Batik. She has taught to Advanced Level in fine art, textiles and also Art History (Renaissance and Impressionism).
She gained a Masters Degree in Education, researching evidence based visual stimuli to accommodate different learning styles. She undertook a further MA in Plymouth on a course 'Conflict Transformation Through The Performing Arts'. She has for the last several years been part of the Bath 'Living Theory' cafe group withprofessor Jack Whitehead with the reflective research question 'How can I improve my practice'?.
Shelagh became familiar with 'Right Brained Drawing Techniques' when teaching in the USA and has since incorporated the techniques (well documented by Betty Edwards, Marilee Zdenek and Dr Keith Harary etc.) into her practice in both formal educational settings and finds these drawing 'tools' invaluable for less confident children, young people and adults (of any age) who had not previously tapped in to their creative potential. She uses these techniques in the community setting courses that she is now delivers on a regular basis. and especially currently, when teaching Batik.
Creative Projects: Shelagh has a long history of involvement in theatre, using her creativity in a wide range of settings from making life size models for drama productions; intricate string puppets for performances; masks and hand screen printed costumes for a range of plays (several of which she wrote, cast and directed with casts of up to 50 students; and with primary children, designing and making fabric wall hangings with them and making fantasy costumes while directing a pageant to celebrate 1000 years of Bath (Combe Down Mines Celebrations).
Peace & Justice Work: Shelagh was delighted to incorporate her creativity with her work alongside new migrants, asylum seekers and refugees, by running the arts tent for Bristol Refugee Week, where she engaged the public in creating a giant canvas banner incorporating the word 'Sanctuary' across it. The completed banner was carried at the launch ceremony of the ‘City Of Sanctuary’ in Bristol and is now situated at a refugee centre.
Tutoring Art Teachers: Over a 3 years period, Shelagh delivered Art CPD days across the UK as a tutor for ‘Creative Education’ for practicing art teachers. These workshops included: textiles, screen printing, working with SEN young people creatively and Batik. The teachers were increasing their skills base to add to their art curriculum in their schools.
Informal Settings: Shelagh delivered 'Apex' programme Saturday workshops across BANES authority . Over the year of the programme, she delivered workshops that introduced both primary and secondary pupils to the wonders of ‘Exploring Batik’, also using right brain drawing methods. Shelagh ran two half day workshops for primary school pupils at a private preparatory school in Wells as part of their 'Indonesia' week.
Photography: Shelagh is a keen photographer. She collects images from nature and pattern from found objects and uses them in her art work. Recently, she has been focusing on reflections, fascinated by the transience of images in water which can be captured briefly on camera, before they cease to exist. Shelagh lives in the country, outside Bath, taking inspiration from the surrounding countryside of sheep, swans, frogs and the local fauna which surrounds her home.
She has a large collection of batik, tie dye and embroidered fabric, 'caps' (Indonesian Batik copper printing blocks) mainly from the Far East but also from Africa and Mexico.
Shelagh uses the traditional fabrics to inspire her students, showing them pattern, border designs and colour choices to ground their creativity in the traditions of the experts. She shares her knowledge of the symbolism and tradition behind the pattern, colour and scale of the designs to enrich the experience. Batik Explorations Workshops: Shelagh is running regular Batik courses around the Cam Valley/ Somer Valley areas both through the local college and at her own studio. These workshops course take students through a well evidenced process that always delights and surprises many with the quality of the work that they produce. Future Plans:
Shelagh will continue to offer demonstrations, workshops and take part in local art trails and exhibitions to encourage more people into realising that they can learn a technique and produce inspiring results. So many people start by declaring that they are 'no good at art' but by the end of 6 weeks, are believing otherwise! I don't believe there is anyone who is 'no good at art'! There is a challenge for you!